South of the Isles of Scilly MCZ

Status: Proposed


Site overview

This site is located 15km south of the Isles of Scilly, a biodiversity hotspot where seals, dolphins, whales, and the world’s second largest fish, the basking shark are regularly spotted. The seabed is a mix of sand and gravels providing important habitat for invertebrates, such as octopus, and commercially important fish - which in turn contribute to the food chain that supports the larger predators.

There are very few sites that lie beyond 6nm and are properly protected in English seas. MCS believes this site should be considered for designation as a Highly Protected Marine Area where all human activities that negatively impact marine wildlife are prohibited.

MPA Type

Marine Conservation Zone

Marine Conservation Zones (MCZs) are designated under UK legislation (Marine and Coastal Access Act 2009) and have been established around England, Wales and Northern Ireland to contribute to the UK MPA network protect a range of nationally important marine wildlife, habitats, geology and geomorphology, and can be designated anywhere in English and Welsh territorial and UK offshore waters.

Surface Area

132.19 km2 (51.04 mi.2)


46.00 km (28.58 mi.)

  • Fan mussel (Atrina fragilis)

    One of Britain’s largest and most threatened molluscs. They are a two shelled animals like common mussels, but can grow to nearly 50cm in length. ¬†They live with the pointed end of their shell buried in the sediment on the seabed.

  • Subtidal sand

    Sandy seascapes that can seem a bit like deserts, but can be full of life. Flat fish and sand eels camouflaged on the surface of the sand,worms and bivalves (with their paired, hinged shells) all live in places like these.

  • Subtidal coarse sediment/mixed sediments mosaic

    Undersea beds of a mixture of stones, gravels, sands and muds. Because mixed seabeds are so varied, they may support a wide range of animals, both on and in the sediment.

Did you know?…

To the shelf limits, Scotland has 61% of UK waters, of which 23% are now in existing or new ‘marine protected areas’

Over 500,000 records of undersea species and habitats have been collected by volunteer Seasearch divers

Over half a million people have voiced their support for ‘marine protected area’ designation in the UK through our campaigns